Katya Gehrin

One second. That’s all it took. Senior Katya Gehrin’s life took a turn for the worse April 16, 2014, after becoming paralyzed overnight. After experiencing sensations of tingling and numbness beginning in her right shoulder blade, Gehrin could barely walk to her room. Gehrin’s parents decided to have her  sleep on the couch in order to be close if anything happened..

“My dad woke me up and told me to go to the bathroom and get ready for school, but I couldn’t move,” Gehrin said. “That’s when my parents admitted me into Children’s Hospital three hours later.”

After getting an MRI and a spinal tap, the doctors found Gehrin had Transverse Myelitis, an inflammatory attack on her spinal cord. Gehrin would spend the next two months at Children’s Hospital. Going from constantly moving behind the plate as a catcher for the Missouri Heat Softball team, to being told she would never play softball again, Gehrin’s situation took a mentally exhausting toll on her.

“My transverse Myelitis limits me in my main functions,” Gehrin said, “I walk with a limp in my left leg because of my dropped foot, and I only have one percent strength in my triceps.”

Gehrin’s limitations also affect small tasks such as raising her hand in class.

“I have to watch my hand when I raise it, so I don’t end up dropping it and hitting someone in the head,” Gehrin said.

For the two months Gehrin was in the hospital, she did physical therapy for five hours everyday.

“Therapy was both mentally and physically challenging,” Gehrin said. “I had less stamina, and therefore got tired very easily.”

Gehrin’s sessions were eventually moved down to two hours three times a day after she was released. During her recovery, her friends didn’t leave her side.

“This took a toll on them too,” Gehrin said. “I was always active and this was a big adjustment.”

Her friends visited her in the hospital throughout the entire process.

“It was hard watching her struggle in the hospital,” Senior Sawyer Cameron said, “but I knew she would get through it if she had someone by her side.”

With her friends and family’s support, Gehrin keeps an upbeat attitude, supporting and raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Starting the Kids For Wish Kids Club, now called Make-A-Wish Club, Gehrin’s goal was to raise enough money to sponsor just one kids wish.

“We raised over $10,000, and the amount to sponsor one wish is $5,000,” Gehrin said.

With a goal set for one wish, Gehrin’s club instead sponsored two.

“Starting this club has had a huge impact on my life,” Gehrin said. “I could honestly say it’s my life line.”

Gehrin feels she has grown emotionally as a person through this club.

“I have always been physically strong,” Gehrin said, “but now I’ve become mentally stronger.”